Wednesday, December 4, 2013

SmockTip #10- Establish Routines

Establish clear routines in the art room, especially with the youngest learners. My nursery students know to enter the art room and to immediately sit down on the rug. We always begin class by singing two short color songs that include fun motions. This helps get the wiggles and chatter out before a brief lesson. Then the art exploration and creativity begins!
My nursery students singing "Rainbow" to begin art class

Monday, November 18, 2013

Technology Integration in the Art Room

I am lucky to work at a school with three school-wide technology integration specialists. Teachers are able to collaborate with these tech specialists to enhance the learning experience for our students. I am quite confident with my own technology skills, but I decided to team up with one of the tech specialists to create a video reflection for a recently completed Kindergarten project. I enjoyed merging ideas and learning from her expertise as we created a polished video using iMovie

I adore hearing these sweet voices as the children reflect on their artwork. It melts my heart!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

SmockTip #9- Slideshows Made Easy with PhotoPeach

I recently started using PhotoPeach and I couldn't wait to share it with you!  I am always looking for quick and simple ways to share student work electronically. With PhotoPeach you simply choose a batch of photos to upload, organize them, select music, and voila! You have an awesome slideshow to share with students and parents.

Check out my PhotoPeach stream here.

2A Radial Symmetry Designs on PhotoPeach
1C Mondrian Project on PhotoPeach
KA All About Me Robots on PhotoPeach

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Nursery News

I am very lucky to teach the youngest students at our school. The Nursery students are 3-year-olds who attend half days. They come to the art room once a week for thirty minutes of exploration. Even though the Nursery students are young, they can still engage in well-rounded art experiences. 
We started the year exploring color and movement inspired by the great artists Morris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler, and Jackson Pollock.  
Students used primary color markers and spray bottles of water to achieve a blurred color mixing effect like Morris Louis.
Students used liquid watercolors and pipettes to pour and squeeze paint like Helen Frankenthaler.
Condiment bottles full of tempera paint enabled students to "action paint" by moving their arms and creating twisting lines like Jackson Pollock.

Note:  One of my favorite sites full of art experiences for young children is So Says Sarah. If you are a teacher or parent of young artists, you should check it out!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Arts Integration

Arts Integration

This past weekend I was lucky to take part in an arts integration professional development workshop with Dr. Barry Oreck.  He immersed us in a weekend full of dance, drama, movement, and making connections.  It was enjoyable and relevant PD. 

I translated the buzz and excitement of the experience directly into my classroom on Monday.  My 2nd graders have been working on a painting project that uses skills of design and pattern to explore radial symmetry.  I planned a movement activity to enable my students to physically become a pattern of radial symmetry.  I didn't tell them that they would be forming the pattern with their bodies, but instead let them discover it on their own. 

I took a photo of them with my iPad and immediately projected it on the Cleverboard for them to see. I was delighted when a student exclaimed, "Look! We made an example of radial symmetry!!!" 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

SmockTip #8- Pin It!

When the Pinterest craze hit, I avoided it like the plague.  With so much social media in our faces all the time, it was another item that I did not want to pile onto my internet browsing plate.  That is, until I realized how Pinterest could be used professionally

I have been using Pinterest as a teacher for about a year now and it has been an invaluable resource.  I create boards to organize project ideas, works of art, artist bios, classroom management strategies, etc.  It is a great way to organize all of the web-based information that influences projects & lessons.  I am even able to Pin links to video clips that I use for lessons.  I am able to save and organize all of the cool stuff that I find online in one place VISUALLY.  As an art teacher, I live for the visual, so Pinterest is perfect for me!

Visit my Pinterest board at

***If you are an art teacher, check out the Pinterest board of Donna Staten. WOW!!!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kindergarten Kindness Quilt

At the start of the year I plan projects that enable me to assess students' baseline skills. I always aim to reinforce larger learning concepts from the classroom in the art room as well. This year I was able to do both with the creation of a kindness quilt.  The Kindergarteners begin the year learning how to behave positively in the school community.  The story The Kindness Quilt touches on the idea of being kind to others.  In the story, the school children design quilt squares that show acts of kindness.  I decided to have my Kindergarten students to the exact same thing.  
The project was great because I was able to assess drawing, coloring, cutting, and pasting skills.  The students enjoyed creating their quilt squares and were so excited to see them assembled into a large paper quilt. Our Kindness Quilt is a wonderful visual display in the Early Childhood building that will serve as a reminder of kind behavior throughout the school year.

Friday, August 16, 2013

SmockTip #7- Don't Underestimate the Power of Posters

As the new school year starts, I want to share a simple classroom management strategy with you.  I spend a lot of time at the start of the year teaching my students procedures within the context of the larger art lesson.  I have found it very handy to make posters of classroom procedures. I model the desired behavior, display the poster, and then I am able to refer back to the poster throughout the school year.  A simple and effective strategy : ) 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Van Gogh and the Elements of Art

The second graders ended the school year studying the elements of art in Van Gogh's painting The Starry Night.  Students then created their own night scene using oil pastels. The project rubric required students to demonstrate the use of each element of art. Some students accomplished this by creating a replica of The Starry Night, while others came up with their own unique scenes. I love how their individuality was expressed in this project. The results were amazing!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Integrating Science and Art

I was about to begin an artist study of Georgia O'Keeffe with my 2nd graders when I heard that they would soon be taking a field trip to a local botanical garden.  I met with the classroom teachers who explained to me that the field trip was targeted to enhance the 2nd grade science study of plants and animals.  One key idea of the science unit was symbiotic relationships.  As explained in this lesson, a study of Georgia O'Keeffe is a great way to teach the artistic skills of drawing large & filling the space of the paper.  In addition to teaching art skills, I knew that I could also reinforce science concepts with this project.  
The symbiotic relationship between a hummingbird and flower

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

SmockTip #6- How to Get Students Out the Door On Time!

When the bell rings, is your art room spotless with students standing in a perfect & orderly line?  If your answer is no or not always, continue reading for another helpful SmockTip.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Edible Art

Since becoming a mom, I have not had as much time to focus on creating art as I would like to.  One thing I have figured out is how to blend being artistic with my responsibilities as a parent.
Giving birth to my first child also resulted in giving birth to a new form of art: cake decorating.  I get pretty involved with the design of each cake, each one even has a matching hand-drawn invitation.  They look good, and taste yummy too! Expand this post to see more cake art!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dr. Seuss

When I stumbled upon this Dr. Seuss project idea, I knew it would be a fun way to reinforce primary colors and introduce perspective to my Kindergarteners. It was also a great way to help prepare them for the upcoming Dr. Suess Day celebration organized by the librarian every March 2nd. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

SmockTip #5- Use Your Head

Let me introduce you to the SmockDo.  This is a unique and handy suggestion for storing art supplies AND looking stylish.  This practical updo can be done with a paint brush, pencil, pen, marker...many tools found in the art room.  It can be used to store one or multiple brushes at a time.  The SmockDo craze is sure to hit the runways before long!
Hair storage + wearing a smock = ultra prepared teacher!

Friday, February 22, 2013

An Art Teacher's Revelation

Today I made a decision that will change the way I teach indefinitely.

I am never not wearing a smock again!
While wearing a smock I am transformed into a teacher with kangaroo-like practicality. The handy pouches have revolutionized my productivity with easy access to the things that I need for lessons.  My smock reduces scatterbrained moments by keeping everything at my fingertips. I love my smock so much that my only wish is that it had dozens of pockets and a tool loop to hold my stapler.

In my pouch today I had a spare pencil, a Sharpie, a paperclip to unclog pesky glue bottles, various paint brushes, a roll of tape, some blue tack, a thumb drive, a hair band, a band-aid, a breath mint, AND a recess whistle. What wasn't I prepared for?

If I ever return to being a classroom teacher, the smock is going with me.  It's usefulness is invaluable to any teacher!!!